It feels like there’s always movies celebrating anniversaries. Sometimes though it’s a little shocking to hear how old some of these movies are. For example stuntman turned director Hal Needham’s first movie from 1977 Smokey and the Bandit.
The movie is kind of dumb but it kicked off a car chase craze throughout the 1980s. The simple easy going plot has Burt Reynolds (The Bandit) driving a 1977 Trans Am really fast to get cops to chase him instead of his buddy Jerry Reed whose semi is illegally hauling booze over state lines.
Big Enos Burdette (Pat McCormick) and his son Little Enos (Paul Williams) hire Reynolds and Reed to bring them Coors beer into the state of Georgia from Texas (back then Coors was only available in certain states and transporting it was illegal although apparently President Dwight Eisenhower had it flown into D.C.). Along the way Reynolds picks up runaway bride Sally Field with Jackie Gleason hamming it up as a determined sheriff chasing the Bandit and Field who ran away from his son played by former Tarzan Mike Henry.
The movie spawned two sequels, a TV series and more knock-offs than you can imagine. Still it’s stupid fun with some amazing stunts back in a time when filmmakers just crashed cars to perform a stunt instead of relying on CGI.